Ten Centimeters of Tapestry

Slow weaving is even slower when a full week goes by since you last touched the loom. If only I could sit here and do this every day, hours at a time. But other responsibilities…and other looms call for my attention.

Four-shaft tapestry in progress on the loom.

First ten centimeters of the tapestry is complete. Plastic baskets hold the wool yarn beside the loom, sorted by color and value.

Color blending by combining various colors and weights of wool yarn.

Color blending is achieved by combining various colors and weights of wool yarn.

We don’t see much of the main subject yet. I am intensely eager to see a distinguishable image. I suspect you may be eager to see it, as well. But I know it’s coming, so I gladly pursue this adventure, one row at a time.

Four-shaft tapestry beginning.

Elements of shading and texture in the beginning background of the four-shaft tapestry.

Tapestry, woven from the side.

Tapestry is being woven from the side. So, this is the direction the tapestry will hang.

Gladly. We need strength beyond ourselves to endure and be patient—with gladness. Endurance and patience with a glad attitude is an indicator of maturity. Strength for endurance is one of the treasures that God supplies when we ask. And he reminds us that he sees the completed picture. And that it’s worth the pursuit. Aren’t you glad?

May you find patience for waiting.

Gladly weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Rachel Lohman says:

    Karen, totally understand. Working on a plaid that takes changes often. As a newbie on the loom it is a test of patience to see the finished piece – like an expectant parent – excited and wanting the child to be born. Can’t wait to see your progress. Love the rich wools!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, That’s a great comparison – the patience of expectant parents!

      These wools are fun to work with. I like the feel of them in my hands.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Good morning,
    My rosepath rag rug waits while the social events of May filled my days. Now it is the garden running rampant with the leap from spring to summer. … Patience. God certainly filled May with wonderful things…. baby shower, high school and college graduations, preparing for Memorial Day….
    My loom is very patient.
    Visually what you are sharing looks like a warm rug to be placed with honor in front of a fireplace…. I want to reach out and stroke the colors…. I look forward to your next posting of this mystery project.
    Nannette

  • Joanne Hall says:

    Hi Karen,
    It is truly beautiful already.
    Joanne

Leave a Reply


What to Do about Weaving Errors

I’ve been waiting for a bright sunshiny day to thoroughly examine this tightly-woven linen satin dräll fabric. Today is perfect. Fixing errors must be done before the fabric is washed, when the weave will become even tighter. I am looking for unwanted floats where the shuttle skipped threads, and for loops at the selvedges.

In my examination I did find an errant float and a few small selvedge loops. Let’s get started.

Tools:

  • Blunt-tip needle. Sharp needle tip has been sanded to a rounded tip.

Blunt needle for fixing weaving errors.

  • Thread. Use the same weft or warp thread that is in the area needing repair.
  • Good lighting. If the fabric has a complex structure, good lighting is essential.
  • Magnification. I take a photo on my iPhone, and then zoom in to see the minute details.

Zoom in on iPhone photo to magnify details.

 

How to Mend Skipped Threads:

1 Locate the error. Here is a long weft float.

What to do with skipped threads. Tutorial.

2 Thread the blunt-tip needle with a length of the same thread as the float.

Tutorial on fixing weaving errors.

3 Following the exact under-over pattern of the weave, start one inch before the float and needle-weave toward the float. I lay my iPhone nearby, with the magnified iPhone photo clearly showing the weave pattern.

Needle weaving to mend a weaving error. How to.

4 Needle-weave the correct path of the thread through the float area. Continue needle-weaving along the same thread pathway, going one inch beyond the float.

How to fix skipped threads in weaving.

5 Check the front and back of the fabric to see if your stitches match the correct pattern of the weave.

Skipped threads in weaving. Fixed!

6 When you are certain that the float thread has been accurately replaced, clip the float and remove it (or, leave it and trim it after washing). Leave two-inch tails on the replacement thread, and trim after wet finishing. (I leave the replacement tails so I can find and check the repair after it is washed. This also allows for shrinkage before trimming.)

Clip off the float AFTER repair thread is in place.

 

How to Fix a Small Selvedge Loop

1 Locate the loop.

How to fix a loop in the selvedge.

2 Using the blunt-tip needle, gently ease the excess thread to spread over four or five stitches inside the selvedge.

Easing in a loop at the selvedge. Short how-to.

3 The thread that has been eased in (just above the needle) will completely smooth out in wet finishing.

Eliminate an errant loop at the selvedge.

What skipped threads and loops would be found if I were examined this closely? Would I leave them and hope no one notices? Or, would I allow re-weaving and cutting away? A negative attitude is replaced with a thread of thankfulness. A loop of complaining is eased back in. The result is joy. A thankful heart knows joy. When the fabric is washed, the errant floats and loops are gone. What remains is the woven fabric with lustrous threads of joy.

May you have a bright sunshiny day.

With you,
Karen

13 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Re-weaving and cutting away in life – what a great analogy.

    I am fascinated by your snips (scissors). Are they surgical snips? Those curved blades! I’d love a pair of my own.

    Here’s to a day full of joy!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, Finding those personal flaws can be a little painful for me, but putting in a better thread is worth it.

      These snips with curved tips work great! I found them at a vendor at the quilt festival in Houston a few years ago. I picked up another similar pair at a needlework shop a couple years ago.

      Joy to you!
      Karen

  • Annie Lancaster says:

    Good morning, Karen! I loved your analogy! The lazy part of me would think no one might notice because change is difficult. But then the good Catholic guilt takes over and I must do something about myself!

    The same with corrections in my weaving. My first thought is will anyone really see that? But I can’t unsee it, so it must get fixed!

    One thing I never knew though, was that the loopy selvedges could be corrected. Thank you for sharing this technique, Karen. I am always eager to learn how to improve and correct, though I sometimes have to do a bit of self talk first!

    Enjoy the sun today.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, The wonderful thing about grace is that someone greater than us does the fixing. He can see clearly what needs to be done.

      You are right about not being able to unsee a flaw. If there is something I can do about it, I will. If it can’t be fixed, then, I will chalk it up to the reality of being handmade.

      The loop I showed here would probably correct itself in the wash, but it wasn’t hard to ease in the thread, so I did.

      Happy to have another day with sunlight!
      Karen

  • Mary Still says:

    Beautiful piece and I like what you say at the end! Bless You!
    Mary

  • Linda Cornell says:

    You are a gifted writer as well as weaver. Thank you for sharing both!

  • Marion Darlington says:

    Life is but a Weaving” (the Tapestry Poem)

    “My life is but a weaving
    Between my God and me.
    I cannot choose the colors
    He weaveth steadily.

    Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
    And I in foolish pride
    Forget He sees the upper
    And I the underside.

    Not ’til the loom is silent
    And the shuttles cease to fly
    Will God unroll the canvas
    And reveal the reason why.

    The dark threads are as needful
    In the weaver’s skillful hand
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern He has planned

    He knows, He loves, He cares;
    Nothing this truth can dim.
    He gives the very best to those
    Who leave the choice to Him.

    … as quoted by Corrie ten Boom

  • Virginia says:

    Thanks! Very helpful and encouraging.

  • […] weaving books, there are many websources to see how this is done, one of the many I found useful is here. back to […]

Leave a Reply


Two Long Alpaca Scarves

The end is near. I can see the end of the pre-measured tape. These two long scarves could be named “too long” scarves. The repeating pattern of this eight-shaft twill is very…repetitive. And the color is very…monotone. Soft and warm, they will certainly be beautiful scarves…eventually. Can you tell I am ready to be finished?

Soft and cozy handwoven long alpaca scarves.

Soft 3-ply alpaca yarn is used for the warp and the weft. The end is in sight!

I don’t always have patience. I want things to hurry up; I want to be finished now. And I don’t want trouble along the way. Obstacles make me lose my patience; and my attitude becomes unattractive. As much as I try to stay positive, the negative thoughts can get the best of me. When we’re at our worst we need kindness the most. Kindness changes us. Kindness reminds us to look at what is being woven.

Woven fabric at the cloth beam. Warping slats between the scarves keeps the unwoven yarn (for fringe) from slipping off the cloth layers at the sides.

Woven fabric forms layers around the cloth beam. Warping slats are added at the cloth beam between the scarves to keep the unwoven yarn (for fringe) from slipping off the cloth layers at the sides.

We all need and desire kindness, even when we don’t deserve it. Grace is pure kindness toward the unworthy. God gives great grace. He takes an unworthy subject like me and pours on kindness. In that grace I find the patience I need for today. Oh, how lovely that scarf will be!

May you give and receive generous amounts of kindness.

Giving thanks,
Karen

15 Comments

  • These scarves are beautiful. Your selvages are impressive. I can almost feel the softness of these alpaca scarves. Lovely, lovely work. I’m curious to know how you do these hem stitching. I need to go back and look through your tutorials. I’m not a new weaver but an inexperienced one for sure and I’m very much enjoying your blog.

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Cate, It’s a pleasure to meet you. The alpaca yarn is great to work with, and it seems like it just falls into place at the selvedges. I have not done hem stitching on these scarves because I am going to tie a lattice fringe, and I didn’t want a hem-stitched border. When I take these off the loom I will need to be very, very careful to keep from disturbing the wefts at the ends of the scarves.

      I do have a tutorial on hem stitching at this link: Bold Hemstitching.

      Happy Thanksgiving,
      Karen

  • Fran says:

    Very ice they will be, but i know what you mean about repetition .

    • Karen says:

      Hi Fran, Its good to have someone who understands. The repetition does eventually come to an end. I finished the second scarf last night. Now, I’m playing with other yarns until I get to the end of the warp.

      Karen

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Beautiful Karen! I love that pattern.
    Santa is coming early for me this year (tomorrow) my sweet husband got me a 8 shaft Baby Wolf! I’m so excited! Can’t wait to get going on it and try some new patterns!
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, I’m excited for you! You are entering some new adventures. I’m sure you’re already planning your first projects!

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Louise says:

    Interested in the packing on the cloth beam….if you were not having fringe on the scarves and were weaving the entire warp, would you pack the cloth beam?

    On a different topic…
    Sumac
    Have you used this technique (there are many different sumac designs) as an edge on any scarf, blanket, etc.?

    • Karen says:

      Louise, I do put warping slats on the cloth beam for the first turn of fabric around the beam. After that, if I didn’t have the unwoven warp, I would not have added more slats.

      I am not familiar with sumac being used in this way- as an edge on fabric. I only have a very small acquaintance with sumac as a tapestry technique, but I don’t know it well enough to use it very often. If you have more information about this topic, I’d love to see some resources to learn more.

      Thanks,
      Karen

      • Louise Yale says:

        First – I misspelled it. The correct spelling is
        soumak
        Have also used this technique in tapestry many decades ago.

        The book I am using as a reference for the various stitches is
        Jean Wilson’s Soumak Workbook
        Van Nostrand Reinhold Publishing, NY were the original publishers.

        Apparently the title was purchased by Interweave Press, 1982.

        I am in the process of putting a narrow cotton scarf warp on the loom and doing Soumak in place of hemstitching. Will report later.

  • I shared your post to my FB page and said “One of my favorite blogs that I follow. Karen is a jewel that sparkles even on a dark cold winter day <3 "

Leave a Reply


How to Strip the Fun out of Weaving

No fancy stuff for this rug, like rya or loops. The main thing is to finish off this warp. I am eager to get on to the next project–monksbelt (munkabalte)! Even so, it is good to enjoy what you are doing, to be happy and content with what you have and where you are. There is no use complaining about having to finish this. …even though something else seems more exciting.

Simple rag rug on Glimakra Standard.

Simple rag rug using neutral colors. Dark weft stripe is produced by two consecutive rows of a dark brown print fabric as weft.

A grumbling attitude can strip all the joy from the current process. Grumbling poisons your thinking. It starts as a small complaint, but is never content to stay small. In fact, grumbling spreads to other people and corrupts their desires, too. Better to refuse it before it has a chance to begin. Notice and enjoy the blessing of the moment you are in. And so far, I haven’t found a rag rug I didn’t enjoy weaving. Now that’s a blessing!

May your attitude be worthy of imitation.

With contentment,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Shelly says:

    I love this rug, it’s simplicity is beautiful to me. A question, please: what’s the epi? Are they doubled? (I’m about to warp my loom for the second time and am mentally stuck on what epi to use for my next batch of rugs.)

    Thanks Karen, I appreciate your blog a lot.

    Shelly

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shelly,
      The sett for this rug is 5 epi, and yes, the ends are doubled. Most of my rag rugs, however, have a sett of 8 epi and the ends are not usually doubled, except at the selvedges.

      Thanks for asking! Have fun weaving your rugs!
      Karen

  • Kris says:

    What a wise and wonderfully useful message, Karen! Thank you for your time and sharing your thoughts! You are a Blessing! Kris

  • Martha says:

    Karen, your rug is lovely. Your comments are living and enjoying the moment you are in are straight from the Buddhist Dharma – a wonderful way of life.

Leave a Reply


Barely Seen Thin Threads

Though barely seen, they are a deciding factor in the success of this fabric. Skinny little threads. There is a big contrast between the thick and the thin threads in this fascinating two-treadle weave. The thread size difference creates abundant pattern possibilities. Very thin 30/2 cotton almost disappears while it outlines the thick threads, doubled 22/2 cottolin. I change blocks by simply throwing two thin picks in a row.

Towels in thick and thin. Karen Isenhower

Towels in thick and thin. Weft is white with navy blue stripes in a chain pattern. Warp is white with black stripes.

Most of my errors have to do with the thin thread. Either omitting a pick, or forgetting the second pick to change blocks. After weaving a bit further, the error becomes apparent. I go back, take the error out, and weave it over. All because that barely seen thin thread didn’t get put in place.

Forgiveness, an act of humility, is an essential element of each day. Thin threads that take their place in our daily interactions. Not necessarily spoken, but something in your heart that turns your attitude in the right direction. The forgiven forgive. Those who have been forgiven know how to forgive others. So, maybe a chain reaction starts when we forgive. We can hope so.

May your thin threads be strong.

Forgiven,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Margrét Óskrarsdóttir says:

    Beautiful piece you have done there.

  • linda says:

    I’m glad you worked it out. Beautiful!
    Hint: when using tabbies (thin thread) with a heavier pattern thread tie up the pedals so 1-3 is on pedal 1, 2-4 is pedal 2 now the pattern is on the rest.
    pedal tie up: 1-3,2-4,L foot 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 1-4 R foot
    If you start the tabby on the R tromping pedal 2 (2-4) then you’ll always know if you’re on the correct tabby. Shuttle should be on Right to throw from right pedal 1 (1-3) and on the L to use pedal 2 (2-4) and throw. , LP&J, linda

    Karen’s weaving is wonderful

    • Karen says:

      Linda, Thank you!

      That’s great advice. I do something similar when I’m using 4 treadles and 2 shuttles. Relating the direction of the shuttle to the treadle on the right or the treadle on the left really helps.
      However… This thick and thin has only 2 treadles, so it is necessary to reverse directions and the order of it all when you change blocks. When you throw 2 picks of the thin, everything is reversed. Hence, it really keeps me on my toes! I think of it as plain weave with fancy footwork.

      Karen

  • Louise Yale says:

    Gorgeous fabric.
    What size yarns did you use to get these results?
    Thanks.
    Louise Yale

Leave a Reply